With the Pittsburgh Steelers in a major salary-cap bind this offseason, the unthinkable had to cross the minds of the team's fans. They were facing the possibility of losing star safety Troy Polamalu and his unwieldy cap number.
Thankfully for them, that's not happening now. The team announced that Polamalu will be back — and at a reduced cap number — with the signing of a two-year contract extension. Polamalu rebounded after a disappointing 2012 season to put up a strong performance in 2013.
[Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]
In February, team president Art Rooney II said on a conference call with season-ticket holders that he wants Polamalu to play his whole career in Pittsburgh.
The Steelers were about $15 million over the cap after signing outside linebacker Jason Worilds to a one-year, $9.75 million transition tender on Tuesday, and prior to factoring in the Polamalu deal. They also announced they have released linebacker Larry Foote, cornerback Curtis Brown and offensive tackle Levi Brown, which further will help their situation.
But they might need even more. They could have to part ways with long-time defensive starters Ike Taylor and LaMarr Woodley. Taylor is set to make $7 million, which is not going to work. He's 34 and has been less effective over the past season. Woodley's game has fallen off since signing a big contract extension and might need to make a massive pay cut to remain in Pittsburgh.
- - - - - - -